The Port of Coos Bay has set a mind-boggling new standard for blocking access to public records in Oregon.
First, it put a price tag on documents that could drive them out of reach of the public. That’s not uncommon. Then the port took it two steps further: First, it challenged the records request because of the motivation of those asking for them. Then it requested detailed information from the group asking for the records.
Do port officials need all that information to guess the motive of the Sierra Club on a coal-export terminal? If so, the port is in trouble.
Oregon’s public records law is a disclosure law, not a confidentiality law. Exemptions are narrow. The port certainly doesn’t get to pick and choose who can get records based on what the port thinks of them. Providing access to records is part of the cost of government. It is the port that has the burden to prove that information is somehow exempt.
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